Interfaith Hospitality Network at HPCUMC

I, David Peck, chair the Governance Committee for one of HPCUMC’s long-standing mission endeavors: Interfaith Hospitality Network (IHN). IHN’s mission is “to provide homeless families with emergency shelter and hospitality through interfaith congregations.” Twenty-eight congregations (Temples, Mosques, Christian and Unitarian) in Greater Cincinnati provide temporary shelter and meals at night during the week. Transportation to and from schools and congregations is provided by IHN. Average temporary housing time at IHN for families is about twenty-seven days. Over 90% do not return to temporary shelters. Finding temporary placement for “families,” including pets, is scarce in our city. There is power in family, as the saying goes, and during the day IHN provides professional case management, addressing securing documents such as social security cards, birth certificates, drivers licenses, monitoring healthcare of all family members, providing self-improvement classes, and other supportive services that allow families to obtain housing and self-sufficiency. The IHN facility at 990 Nassau St. provides laundry, play areas, computers, lockers, showers, pet housing, and classrooms. With overwhelming support through the day facility and much love from congregations, we can help make an unhappy time better!

As many of you know, HPCUMC hosts families for four weeks a year, with our first host week of 2015 wrapping up just a few weeks ago. Sunday night is always the first night of the host week, and the guests usually arrive with some understandable apprehensions: what will this place and people be like; will they be nice; where will we sleep; will I like the food, etc. We try the best we can to make them feel welcome, safe and loved. Here is an excerpt from a letter one of the guests left with me:

“To everyone, volunteers, ministers. Thanks for being there for my family, for feeding us and letting us be able to rest in a warm, safe, clean place. I’m writing cause there are three things I asked your volunteers Mr. Steve, and Mrs. Tracey, for God to help me to stop smoking, a car to be able to transport my kids to school, doctor’s appts and etc. and a nice safe clean home for my kids……Thanks to IHN that blessed us. With our love, Anonymous.” The references to “Mr. Steve” and “Mrs. Tracey” are to Steve and Tracy Payling who graciously served that night with their daughter and several other families from our Childrens’ Ministry.

Kind words of comfort and prayer from total strangers made a difference in this woman’s life; it didn’t cost anything except love and time. We have three more weeks of hosting IHN this year – May 10, August 2, and September 6. We would encourage everyone who has a passion for supporting people in their transition back to permanent housing to join us by donating their time during the week to provide food, spend time with the families in the evenings, serving as the overnight host, etc. If you have interest, contact Sarah Putman at sputman@hpcumc.org or 871-1345.

David Peck and Laura Warren

Volunteers in Mission

IS GOD CALLING HPCUMC TO SERVE IN A NEW WAY?

Each year for the past nineteen years, the West Ohio Conference has sent six medical mission teams to Nuevo Progresso, Mexico to provide medical treatment to the people living in the community. A full team consists of about 5 MDs/NPs, 5 RNs, a pharmacist, 5 Spanish translators, 2 kitchen coordinators, a spiritual director, a coordinator, and laity to help with registering the patients, interacting with the families/children, praying with families, and “runners” for whatever might be needed. The trip is five days long. Thursday, Friday and Saturday are spent caring for the community, while Wednesday and Sunday are used as travel days. The team stays at First UMC in Mercedes, Texas and crosses the border each day in vans to the clinic at El Buen Pastor Methodist Church and to rural areas outside of Nuevo Progresso.

This July, Pastor Dave and Diane Weaver, who have gone before, will be going as spiritual director and nurse, respectively. There is also an exciting opportunity for 3-5 MD, NP, pharmacists, and/or Spanish translators from HPCUMC to join an experienced team of 20-25 people. By 2017, most of this team will be retiring after 10-15 years of serving. Hyde Park Community UMC has been asked by the conference Volunteers In Mission (VIM) Coordinator to consider coordinating the annual mission trip in the future, which would include coordinating an entire team of people – both those with medical training and those without. One goal of the July 2015 trip will be to discern the appropriate response to the VIM invitation.

We are asking everyone to keep this mission trip in prayer. If you are an MD, NP, pharmacist, or Spanish translator, please ask God for guidance as to your participation this coming July. If you have a heart for missions and/or for Mexico, please ask God for guidance as to your participation in possible future trips. Regardless of your personal call to the mission field, please pray for our church discernment if this is something we would do on an annual basis. If you have any questions, need more detailed information, or are interested in the July 2015 trip or one in the future, please contact Rev. Dave Weaver at dweaver@hpcumc.org or Diane Weaver at dianeweaver@cinci.rr.com. We can both be reached at 871-3041. We will also have a table with brochures and costs in the Welcome Center March 22 and 29.

Dave and Diane Weaver

Wesley Education Center for Children and Families

Wesley Education Center for Children and Families (WEC), located in Avondale, is one of the ministry partners of Hyde Park Community United Methodist Church. In addition to receiving financial donations from the church, it has been supported in multiple ways by the Ruth UMW circle for many years.
Established in 1920, it is the oldest childcare facility of its kind in Cincinnati responding to the needs of poor, young working mothers living in the downtown area of Cincinnati. From its inception, quality early childhood education, optimal opportunities for growth and nutrition, and family support services were important at the center. Today, over forty infants and pre-kindergarten children are served at the center.

Through the years, Wesley has survived three moves, two major construction projects, four name changes, and constant state licensing and payment changes. The driving force behind its financial longevity has been the continued support of the United Methodist Women worldwide, and especially those who live in the Greater Cincinnati area.

Today, 98% of Wesley’s services are delivered to African American families who fall below the poverty guidelines. Because only 83% of Wesley’s operational budget is covered by client fees, government vouchers and subsidies, and the support of the national UMW, the remaining 17% of the budget must be raised by donations and through an annual fundraiser.

Wesley Education Center for Children and Families will hold its 11th annual “Circle of Care” dinner and silent auction on Thursday, April 23, 2015, at Twin Towers Senior Living Community (5343 Hamilton Avenue) in College Hill. Doors open at 6 pm. Dinner, prepared and donated by Outback Steakhouse, will be served at 7 pm, followed by silent bidding on auction items and a short program. All proceeds go toward Wesley’s operational budget.

How can you help?
1. Attend the dinner and auction! Contact Ann Flanagan (871-9536 or flan55@juno.com) or Peggy McDaniel (oldeagleeye@hotmail.com or 236-9362) for tickets, seating arrangements, cash donations, or more information on donating a silent auction item.
2. Participate in the AmazonSmile, Kroger Community Rewards, or Labels for Education programs.
3. Donate items such as diapers, wipes, and clean clothing into the plastic bin labeled “Wesley Education Center” in the closet opposite our church office.
4. In honor of Wesley’s 95th year, donations of $95 (or more) are being solicited to help Wesley continue to provide quality early childhood education. You may send a check to Wesley Education Center for Children and Families, 525 Hale Avenue, Cincinnati, OH 45229.

Peggy McDaniel

Ministering with Rothenberg Preparatory Academy

For the past four years, at least forty dedicated HPC mentors have been matched with Rothenberg’s current 4th and 5th grade students. Some of us started working with our students as 2nd graders. The concept is simple—meet with your designated student weekly, on a set day & time (around lunchtime) for 45 minutes in the media center. Each student has a folder with structured reading & math activities.

What actually happens at the table varies from week to week. Sometimes Bill & I have a focused, energetic learner. Some days an angry, apathetic child greets us. Some days not much reading or math is accomplished. The greatest gift we bring to the table as mentors is less about academic results, and more about patience (sometimes lots), compassion and love. Sometimes just showing up, week after week, is the small victory that helps cement a relationship which offers a bond of hope and confidence.

Bill has been coaching basketball for the past five years. Initially the 7th & 8th grades were housed at Rothenberg and boys and girls participated in a CPS league. After the 7th & 8th grade were restructured into the high schools, the focus turned to basketball for the 6th grade boys & girls. The time spent on the court is not about X’s & O’s or wins and losses. It is about the love and honesty you can see and feel in each of these athletes. Goal setting is our top priority (being a team, caring for each other & being a good student-athlete). Every day I coach I am reminded how blessed I am to be a part of their lives. I have been able to follow some of our athletes into high school.

In addition to our weekly partnership with Rothenberg, our partnership includes providing them with Thanksgiving Baskets, Christmas presents for every child in the grades that we mentor in, and giving goodie bags to each student each day as they take their official tests in May. If you are interested in being involved with Rothenberg but unable to commit weekly time to mentoring one on one, consider writing one (or several) personal notes of encouragement that we can include with these testing goodie bags in May – we end up needing about 500 notes in total.

If you have a small amount of time to give, and a heart that can give and receive love from these children of God, then there is room at the table for you. For more information or to volunteer contact Sarah Putman, sputman@hpcumc.org. Notes can be dropped off to the office until the end of April.

Bill and Karen Bruner

Shalom Habitat Coalition

Over twenty years ago, our church partnered with Mt. Zion UMC (now New Vision UMC), and founded the Shalom Coalition to work with Cincinnati Habitat for Humanity building houses in the Walnut Hills area of Cincinnati. In 2015 we will be building our 20th Habitat house. Our church has provided both volunteers and significant funding for these houses. Our church’s Community Ministries & Global Outreach Ministry Team is recommending that our church makes a one time donation of $25,000 in recognition of this being our 20th Habitat house. At the same time we want to use this significant accomplishment to honor two of our church members:

Bob Edgecomb, who has been involved with the first nineteen of the Shalom Habitat houses. Bob started as a volunteer construction leader for the Shalom Habitat Coalition, but for the majority of these houses he has served as a Construction Manager for Cincinnati Habitat for Humanity. Bob recently retired from that position.

Carolyn Moseley, who is stepping down at the end 2015 after serving as the leader of the Shalom Coalition for over twenty-one years spanning construction of all twenty houses.

Looking back, our church took the leading role as we formed the Shalom Habitat Coalition. For the first four or five houses HPCUMC provided most of the funding ($15,000-$40,000 per house) and also the majority of the volunteers. We had a data base that listed well over 200 volunteers from HPCUMC. As more churches joined the Shalom Coalition our participation dropped off both in funding and volunteers. As we finished the 19th Shalom Coalition in 2014 only a few volunteers were from HPCUMC. An interesting note, in the last twenty years the cost to build a Habitat house has increased from about $50,000 to over $90,000 in 2015.

The Shalom Habitat Coalition is in the process of a reorganization but will continue. There is no doubt that Hyde Park Community UMC will
continue be an active member of this coalition to partner with Habitat for Humanity Greater Cincinnati to build houses for low-income families in Cincinnati. This year we will be appealing to our congregation to help us raise the additional $20,000 for the Shalom Habitat House XX.

Lon Kaylor

Welcome to Pastor Ian and Kelly Strickland!

We are excited to welcome Pastor Ian Strickland and his wife Kelly to our church family! Pastor Ian will officially be starting his ministry here on March 1st at our Nast Community location. Pastor Ian and Kelly are both profoundly excited to step into a new ministerial capacity at Hyde Park Community U.M.C and within the Over-the-Rhine area of Cincinnati.

Ian is coming back to his home state of Ohio from Durham, NC, where he has been living for the past five years. Originally living in Durham for seminary at Duke Divinity School where he earned his Master of Divinity, Ian stayed an additional two and a half years as the director of a prison ministry called Project TURN. Project TURN partners with Duke Divinity School to provide graduate level seminary courses inside prison walls. Half of the students in each class are seminary students, the other half are incarcerated students. During his time at Project TURN, Ian gained valuable insight in how to create spaces where two very different and separated groups of people could encounter each other as peers and classmates. The reconciling and dignifying work of Project TURN will continue to form Ian’s ministry as he enters into ministry in Cincinnati.

For the past three and a half years Ian has also been able to serve in a leadership role at a United Methodist church plant in Durham called CityWell. On a practical level, Ian was able to preach, serve on the leadership team, participate in church formation meetings where they began to shape the identity of the church plant, and stay in a mentored relationship with the pastor of the church. On a deeper level, Ian was able to learn important practices for starting a church seeking to be multi-cultural. Similar to Project TURN, CityWell taught Ian that there is a level of intentionality required in developing a church that seeks to dismantle dividing walls among various groups of people. Across socio-economic, racial, age, gender, and other barriers, Ian began developing practices of humility and empathy on a far deeper level than he had experienced before. Ian is excited to carry these practices with him into a pastoral role.

Everyone is invited to attend a reception to welcome Pastor Ian and Kelly Strickland following the 9:30 am service at Nast Community Church on Sunday, March 1st.

Children and Family Ministry Highlight

My name is Laura Tuzun and I started attending HPCUMC 7 ½ years ago when my daughters were 2 and 5 years old. To me, it only made sense that the place to begin my service to the church was the place that would impact my family the most. As a result, I have been a Sunday School teacher for the past 6 years and a regular volunteer at Vacation Bible School.

To me, the Children’s Ministry is the most vital ministry of the church. Of course I am biased since my girls, now ages 9 and 12, are still a part of it. I believe that our children’s ministry is critical to the growth and spiritual development of both our church and our world. These little ones are the seeds that Jesus has planted, and they are just waiting to be nurtured and loved, so that they can grow to be true disciples of Christ. If we do not take care of them how will they ever grow into the adults of tomorrow that will lead our church. It is up to us to guide them in their journey, no one else can do that for us.

One area of the Children’s Ministry that is particularly near and dear to my heart is the special needs ministry. My daughter, Ela, has Down Syndrome and she is just one of several children in our Sunday School program that have special needs and need extra help on Sunday mornings. These children have so much to offer – just like their peers, but they require one-on-one assistance to get the most out of Sunday School. Giving them the one-on-one time that forms relationships and creates successful learning in Sunday School is something that is difficult when many of the Sunday school classes only have one teacher each week and anywhere from 5-15 students. That is why we are constantly looking for adult or youth volunteers to be a special helper to our kids with special needs in Sunday School. Because I knew that my daughters were cared for here at HPC, we made HPC our church home.

As a parent who has been blessed, not only by being a teacher in Sunday School, but also by the other teachers who have taught my own children, I encourage you to get involved in Children’s Ministry. I love every minute that I get to be with these little ones, and I am sure you will.

Laura Tuzun

Student Ministry Highlight

The Mission of Hyde Park Community United Methodist Church is to share the love of Jesus to transform lives, Cincinnati, and the world. Sometimes the best classroom is not a room with desks and smartboards, but rather immersing oneself in serving others and showing the love of Jesus. The student ministry here at our church has exciting opportunities this summer for students to get out of the classroom and make an impact in our city, our nation, and our world.

In Cincinnati we can serve our neighbors. Many students help with Vacation Bible School. They give time, attention, and love to the children in our church and community. We also have an awesome Summer Impact program where students can interact with our ministry partners all over the city. Summer Impact can be a week long experience or even just a one day opportunity.

In our nation, we realize there are many great needs, and it can sometimes seem overwhelming. However, we can touch lives and offer hope. For our middle school and high school students we are offering a trip to Nashville. We will join other youth groups from around the region at Radius Mission camp. We will worship, play, and serve together.

In our World, we have a team of students who will visit our ministry partners at Faith Academy in Haiti. Haiti is a country stricken with economic poverty, and yet there are incredible men and woman who are offering hope to children and families. We will come alongside them to support and learn from them.

I am a believer that cross-cultural service opportunities, regardless of whether they are across the street or across the globe, are life changing. I am excited to journey with our students this summer. I can only imagine how God will use our students and what He will teach us. If you are a middle school or high school student, go to www.hydeparkcommunity.org/student-missions-2015 for more information on participating.

We desire prayer and financial support from our church family. Will you pray for our teams as they are formed and prepare to go and serve? Please pray that God will prepare our hearts to be compassionate, that God will prepare the fields for our arrival, for team unity, for travel safety, and for flexibility to respond to God’s leading. Could you possibly help financially? Currently we are accepting orders for spring flowers and vegetables. Plan ahead for your gardening and landscaping and place an order and payment by February 22. Order forms are available in the Welcome Center. A portion of the sale will help our students serve in Nashville and Haiti this summer.

Thank you for being a community who has a vision to make an impact in our church, community, and the world.

Ken Miller
Director of Student Ministry

Holy Communion Sunday Prayer

What is on your heart? What wakes you up in the middle of the night?

We come to Christ’s table with thanksgiving and joy for what God has done for us and for his continual invitation to God’s grace, love, peace, joy, healing, and hope. We are united when we come to the table; one with God and one with each other. Unity is good and pleasing in the sight of God. As we take the bread and the cup, we can experience God’s presence in Jesus Christ by the Holy Spirit.

Experiencing God’s presence can seem a unrealistic dream for those of us currently experiencing suffering. But take heart! Through the research of experts and the words of the scripture, we are reminded that praying with one another leads to answered prayers and healing. In Testing Prayer, Dr. Candi Brown, a scholar who researched and studied answered prayer, mentions that people who have experienced answered prayers more than doubled when they shared their prayers and asked others to pray for them as opposed to “keeping it to themselves.” The words of the Bible remind us that, “If any among us are suffering, they should pray….pray for one another so you may be healed” (James 5:13, 16).

Weary and carrying heavy burdens, we come to Jesus, seeking God in prayer, knowing He will give us rest (Matthew 11:28). On this Holy Communion Sunday, Stephen Ministers and members of our Prayer Team are ready to share God’s love and grace with you in prayer. If you have any prayer concerns or would like to receive a prayer for your loved ones, we are here to pray for you and with you. It is beautiful and powerful when God’s children come together in unity and share our burdens with each other. I believe that’s a sign of healthy church.

Our prayer team is privileged to pray with you today. It is our desire to be faithful, living out in action the words from James and Matthew, we are not merely trying to be or appear more spiritual. Faithfulness is about action – on the part of those seeking the Lord, and on those willing to join alongside those needing healing in prayer. All prayers are confidential. May the Holy Spirit stir our hearts and minds with courage as we come to receive God’s grace through the ministry team. Amen.

Rev. SueLee Jin

Walk To Emmaus

As you begin the New Year, prayerfully consider attending an Emmaus Walk in 2015!

The Emmaus story is found in the Gospel of Luke (24: 13-35). It’s an awesome story of two disciples or friends walking along the road sharing their hearts’ deepest concerns about the death of Christ. An unknown stranger comes along who explains the scriptures as they walked. At the end of a long day the stranger took bread, blessed, broke and shared it with the two disciples. Their eyes were then opened and they recognized the risen Christ and then rushed back to Jerusalem to share the good news with others.

Through the years several hundred Hyde Park church members have experienced the Walk to Emmaus. When you attend you’ll come to a fuller understanding of God’s grace and will experience it in Christian community. Emmaus is a discipleship model that transforms lives for God’s kingdom work in the world.

Who should go? Members of a local church who desire to strengthen their spiritual lives or experience renewal. Someone searching for unanswered questions about their faith. A person who is willing to dedicate their everyday life to God and understands that being a Christian involves responsibility.

What happens on Emmaus? It is a three-day short course on Christianity where you will enjoy singing, learning, laughing, worshipping, reflecting, praying, participate in small table groups, and daily celebrate Holy Communion. The discussions are around a number of talks by laity and clergy on the theme of God’s grace and experienced in Christian love through the Emmaus community.

What happens after Emmaus? Everyone is encouraged to become more engaged in ministry in their local church and become more active as a disciple of Christ in their everyday life. To nurture this process of discipleship persons can become involved in a small group for accountability.

Each person considering to attend the Walk to Emmaus needs to have a sponsor. These are persons who have already attended a walk and are willing to support you as a friend on your walk with Christ. The next Men’s Walk is February 19-22 and the next Women’s Walk is March 19-22.

For more information about Emmaus or seeking to find an Emmaus sponsor, please contact Sharon Michaelson at 761-5571 or at moegge@fuse.net.

It is my hope you will prayerfully consider attending the Walk to Emmaus in the New Year. It might be a natural next step on your spiritual journey. Just maybe you will recognize the risen Christ anew in 2015!

In Christ’s Love,
Dave Weaver